It’s been almost 3-years to the day since the film’s DVD release (1/11/2011) that I finally dug through my animated film queue deep enough to give Alpha and Omega its due. The reason for the delay? Well for one, abundant negative reviews surrounding this piece. A quick search reveals no shortage of critics, professional and amateur alike, willing to slam this movie in just about every conceivable unit of measurement. Yet despite the criticisms, Alpha and Omega just continues plugging along. Nowhere was this reality more abundant than when this past October a direct-to-DVD sequel was released (A Howl-iday Adventure) with word that Alpha and Omega 3: The Great Wolf Games (2014), Alpha and Omega 4: The Legend of the Saw-Tooth Cave (2014) and Alpha and Omega 5: Family Vacation (2015) were going to follow.
Five-part CG films put this series in very exclusive company as, after all, even blockbusters like Pixar’s Toy Story has only gone three and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Blue Sky’s Ice Age have reached the golden number of four (not including spin-offs and shorts). Clearly, despite critical disappointment, the film has been deemed powerful enough to warrant continued support, a fact made even clearer by three franchise books by Scholastic as well as several licensed video games at present.
So why all the attention you wonder? In short it was a box office success through and through. The film hit 2,625 theaters via Lionsgate with an estimated budget of $20-mil. By the time it finished its theatrical run, it had grossed $50,507,267. That’s not even taking into account DVD, Blu and licensing revenue. As a result Alpha and Omega earns the prestigious honor of being the most successful film to date from Lionsgate or India’s Crest Animation, the two companies responsible for the film’s creation.
All that being said, Alpha and Omega tells the tail er I mean tale of two young wolves in Canada's Jasper National Park: Humphrey (Justin Long) and Kate (Hayden Panettiere). The latter is an alpha, being groomed for leadership and hunting prowess while the former is one of the ragtag omegas; the good hearted and funny members of the group known more for riding logs down the wooded hillside than leading the pack. With hunting territory hanging in the balance, their pack faces a challenge from the encroaching Eastern wolves. In an effort to unite the packs and thus prevent war between the two, alpha Winston (Danny Glover) has promised the hand, er I mean paw in marriage of his eldest daughter, Kate, to the son of Eastern leader Tony (Dennis Hopper).
Despite Tony’s son Garth (Chris Carmack) being a bit of a meat head, not to mention a terrible howler to boot, the plan goes to pot when park rangers tranquilize and relocate Kate (along with Humphrey) to Idaho to repopulate Sawtooth National Forest as apparently we foolish humans are completely unaware of the laws governing wolves whereby alphas and omegas are prohibited from mating, or as it’s referred to here, “howling together”.
The core of the tale centers on Humphrey and Kate’s attempts to return to their home while the two wolf packs teeter on the brink of all out territory war.
The screenplay for this one was written by Steve Moore; the guy responsible for the much clunkier Open Season 2 and there are more than a few passing similarities between the two pieces. Among these talking canines, oblivious humans, stowaways in motorhomes, slight themes of environmentalism and so on.
However, unlike Open Season 2, Alpha and Omega carries much better plot momentum and, as is apparently requisite for animation to succeed in theaters these days, a few musical numbers of varying degrees of attainment.
I actually came away from this film quite pleasantly surprised and a little bewildered by the pattern of negativity surrounding it. While it’s true that it lacks the big-budget eye candy of your modern day Pixar or DreamWorks CG feature (or the complexly layered humor of say Illumination’s Despicable Me franchise), what is here is 88-minutes of cute entertainment with a perfectly cast vocal cast and a charming/ distinct art style to boot. While it’s true that the film takes very few chances and introduces nothing new to the genre, it’s hardly as flawed as many similarly budgeted CG pieces jamming up the Redbox these days- particularly those that are actually foreign films with an English dialog track slapped on.
At the end of the day, going in with low expectations certainly helps to appreciate Alpha and Omega for what it is but, as I can safely affirm, leaving it sitting on your DVD shelf for three years is certainly overkill.
Predictable! The love stories between 2 pairs of wolves, Humphrey & Kate + Garth & Lilly. It's action packed and the themes are love, territorial rights, leadership, responsibility, friendship and being transported to foreign lands. What is interesting is how music is being infused effectively into the film. In fact, many animation films rely on this medium to leave a lasting impression and to generate different kinds of … more
"Alpha and Omega" is a cute, harmless, disposable animated film, something the kids may enjoy during its ninety-minute run but then forget about as soon as they get home. I appreciated it from a technical standpoint - the animation is decent, the color scheme is vivid, the vocal performances are competent - but I didn't get all that much out of the story or the characterizations, both of which are a little too innocuous for my taste. Not to sound presumptuous, but I suspect I speak … more
Love is blind to the rules of tradition, opposites attract, and both clichés apply quite nicely to the wolves inAlpha and Omega. In the wolf world, the pack values the omega wolves' skill of defusing tense situations with humor just as much as they value the keen leadership skills of the alpha wolves, but tradition dictates that alpha wolves don't mate with omega wolves. So, when the all-business alpha wolf Kate (Hayden Panettiere) and the fun-seeking omega wolf Humphrey (Justin Long) find themselves attracted to one another, the pair resign themselves to a life apart, and Kate agrees to a match with alpha male Garth (Chris Carmack) from a rival pack in order to peacefully merge the two packs into one. But when Humphrey and Kate are tranquilized in their home in Jasper National Forest, Canada, and relocated to Sawtooth Forest far away in Idaho, the two discover that not only can opposites work very well together, but that neither of them can continue to ignore their attraction for the other. The question is, will working together, combined with a little help from a golf-playing goose and his duck caddy, be enough to get the pair all the way back to Jasper National Park before the rival wolf packs tear one another apart at the next full moon? And what will become of their relationship if they do return in time? This animated 3-D film is amusing and entertaining, if not particularly outstanding. A lot of the humor is pretty corny and the plot has been done many ...